Let’s take a time to reflect on how we have been learning, in addition to what we have been learning. Take it from Einstein: learning the appropriate method to think is more important than memorizing information. Of course, concentrating on developing your thinking helps you grow constantly and encourages adaptability to whatever changes a business may go through. To succeed in the fast-growing field of software engineering, programmers must develop their capacity for critical analysis and creative problem-solving. It is insufficient to concentrate only on the memorization of facts. The adage “Giving someone a fish will feed them for a day, but teaching them how to catch fish will nourish them for a lifetime” applies here. Students require instruction and support that will prepare them for life.
It’s crucial to take the teaching method into account while choosing materials for learning to code. Is the platform or solution built to keep students interested and supported over time? Most people cannot enter programming headfirst and succeed in it. The tremendous task of learning to code cannot be completed without a strategy. The initial stage in your learning process is to comprehend how you will train your mind to think like a developer. Let’s go through 5 tested learning techniques to help you on your way to learning how to code and to position you for long-term success. We’ll discuss:
- Divergent thinking
- “The Learning Pit”
- Hands-on learning
- Peer learning
The idea behind metacognition is to consider why and how you are learning. Science demonstrates that learning a large number of facts without taking into account patterns reduces your memory capacity. Many elementary school curricula have a metacognition base, particularly for pupils who have difficulty with math. When students are concentrated on understanding the core principles rather than spending hours solving a set of problems, they feel more at home in math class and less lost in a jungle of numbers. Studies demonstrate that comprehending underlying patterns can set learners up for long-term success. Some learners flourish around numbers and formulae, while others thrive by looking for similarities between ideas. This is because knowing what kind of problem you’re dealing with will help you address it more quickly. You can include metacognition in your learn-to-code journey in a variety of ways:
Make a schedule (or syllabus) of the coding lessons you’ll learn each week.
This will put less emphasis on specific problems and more emphasis on how the concepts develop. It’s essential to comprehend how each issue ties to the preceding and initial principles if you want to learn how to think like a professional developer. Instead than looking for isolated solutions to individual problems, relentlessly seek out patterns and themes. To become more accustomed to the environment, look over some existing courses and curricula online.
Write down your ideas.
You could get lost in the sea of commands and numbers, especially when you’re coding. Taking a step back and putting your ideas down on paper can be useful. By doing this, you’ll be able to focus on your thoughts and connection rather than letting them get lost among the countless other ideas racing through your head. If you consider yourself a mostly visual learner, this is a great practice for you.
- Put your ideas into a flowchart.
- Pose thoughtful queries to yourself
- How does this knowledge complement or clash with what I already know?
- Why is the concept important to me, and what concepts do these difficulties represent?
- “How does this relate to yesterday’s lesson?”
Most likely, you’ve thought about why and how you learn before. Similar techniques were presumably utilized by you in your early years of school while reviewing material for a test or redoing formulas in math class. Although metacognition is not a novel concept, it is crucial to actively recognize it as a tool in order to avoid developing poor learning habits.
Bad habits might manifest as decreased long-term memory as a result of haphazard memorizing and a failure to adjust to unforeseen difficulties. Essential problem-solving and critical thinking abilities are developed through effective study habits, which are beneficial in all facets of your life. It could require a little more time and work, but that is true of everything important. Attempt one of our more than 300 courses and learning pathways: From scratch, learn Java.
2. Original thought
Divergent thinking is required because of the dynamic environment of software development. In contrast to convergent cognition, which is satisfied with a single, factual result, divergent thinking stresses a variety of responses from a single line of investigation. There is rarely only one right technique to complete a task in the realm of software engineering. The ability to think quickly and approach problems in a variety of ways is advantageous for developers, especially as technology develops. Try to concentrate on three elements of the thoughts racing through your head when attempting to think divergently:
- Fluency: The number of thoughts
- Originality: How many original ideas you have compared to your contemporaries.
- Flexibility: The variety of concepts or classifications that can contain your ideas
When researching a new subject, keeping these tests in mind teaches you to never settle for a single response. Although it initially feels unpleasant, after some time your mind will start to think differently without even trying. Your ability to solve problems creatively will be a wonderful asset to any team.
3. The Learning Pit
James Nottingham, a teacher, and author created The Learning Pit, a framework for learning that tries to transform the unavoidable challenges that students will encounter into a useful learning process. This constructive struggle is more of a learning roadmap designed to turn learning challenges into stepping stones than it is a learning philosophy. The idea is to create a pathway where pupils experience success after a difficulty, which improves retention and boosts confidence for the subsequent concept. When learners are placed in a learning pit, they can come out of it with knowledge of how to learn despite initial difficulties.
Coding can be challenging to learn. Whether it’s grasping the distinction between arrays and linked lists or knowing how to train machine learning models, you will encounter several difficulties. However, we are aware that facing these difficulties head-on would be more fruitful than letting them prevent you from achieving your objective. The Learning Pit framework gives us the ability to advance, regardless of where we are in the learning process. The Learning Pit develops through four phases:
- The broad learning goal is laid forth for the student.
- The learner exits this stage with only a cursory knowledge of the goal.
- At this point, the student suffers cognitive struggle and the “learning pit” (two or more ideas that are true but in conflict with one another)
- Students are inspired to challenge, question, and wonder by the tension between the known and unknown.
- The roots of a “growth mentality” are laid through resolving cognitive conflict, which essentially means that you see difficulties and errors as stepping stones rather than obstacles.
- Here is where the first links between the known and unknown are being found.
- The numerous types of thinking that students must employ include testing, evaluating, summarising, interpreting, and verifying.
- An unpleasant “conflict” stage is followed by a jubilant sense of accomplishment.
- The learning pit’s “Eureka” phase
- The focus of this phase is a careful reflection on the educational process.
- Reflection produces new insights on the elements of the learning process that were effective and how to recreate them.
- Therefore, this idea will aid in training your mind to accept obstacles you face as you learn to code. If you find yourself in a cognitive rut, just keep in mind that you are in the second stage of the Learning Pit and “Eureka” will come eventually. It all boils down to developing mental habits that will help you learn and think more clearly while also being more resilient.
4. Practical instruction
Learning by doing is a strong method for mastering any new skill. The majority of instructors concur that experiencing a topic firsthand is an essential part of learning. If information is taken in by several senses, it is more likely to be stored in your long-term memory. If a student actively participates in a lecture rather than merely passively listening, they are significantly more likely to retain the knowledge. Being active while learning also aids in maintaining your focus and preventing extraneous distractions. It will be nearly impossible to bury the material with new information because of the physical link you formed with it. Without that connection to the outside world, it is much more likely that the new idea will be lost in the sea of other information. Making as many links to each topic as you can is essential to prevent students from becoming lost in the never-ending path that is learning.
For instance, anyone can visit GitHub, download one of the countless public repositories, and play around with the code to figure out how it functions and modify it. It’s a cost-free method of obtaining a learning sandbox, similar to the interactive sandboxes in our courses and pathways. Although it may seem a bit apparent, nobody ever learns anything without first attempting and failing. Coding exercises are performed by university students every night while they complete their assignments. Thankfully, you can get the practise you need without paying for a computer science degree. Sandboxes, guided projects, and quizzes are all readily available tools that will help you in your learning about coding. The top developers maintain their talents fresh by practicing key concepts, just like the world’s best baseball players continue to train with a tee.
5. Peer education
It’s a great idea to start a study group whether you’re primarily an auditory learner or just enjoy the social element of learning. For those who are taking up coding as a personal endeavor, there are still lots of opportunities to interact and communicate with other students. Not necessarily for better education, but for the constant access to peers, taking computer science classes at a university has several benefits.
However, travelling alone is also entirely acceptable. You must decide what will suit you the best. However, there are plenty of venues to do so if you are learning alone and feel like you need others to bounce ideas off of. Developmental concepts can be taught through discussion and argument much like literary concepts can. Connecting electronically via Discord servers or with a study partner on a video call are excellent ways to find a study group. Don’t worry if you can’t speak with someone right away. Although it may sound foolish, reading concepts out loud and responding to them might assist an auditory learner to retain information. The process is analogous to how visual learner might write out their ideas or rewrite notes using symbols and graphics. Even if it can seem a little absurd, if something works, it must be true, according to science.
Selecting the most appropriate learning material for you
These learning techniques may appear straightforward, yet they have been shown to be effective. The first stage in the learning process is to plan out how you’re going to learn. This involves selecting well-created educational materials that are intended to encourage and involve learners. While ultimately determining how to approach learning is up to you and your tastes, we hope some of these tried-and-true learning methods may inspire you to get started! To see some of these cognition tactics in action as you start your learning adventure, make sure to check out Introduction to Computers & Programming and courses like it!